Denver Zoo's 'Dream Night,' a meaningful experience for children with special needs

DENVER - The Denver Zoo stayed open late Friday night with workers volunteering their time so children with special needs could have an opportunity they may have never experienced otherwise.

“We’ve been super excited about this night for a long time because we don’t get out often. Heat and sunshine don’t necessarily agree with him,” said David, a father who asked us to not identify him completely, as he took his son, Carter, to the Denver zoo. 

Carter and his dad don’t normally have the chance to make it out to zoo. But with the zoo opening its doors for free to children with autism, sensory disorders and other special needs, Carter got a behind-the-scenes up close encounter with a rhino.

“It was lots of fun,” said Carter.

He is bound to a wheelchair, and the Zoo's "Dream Night" event is a quieter and less crowded opportunity for Carter and other children to enjoy and learn about wildlife they may not otherwise see.

“For children with disabilities it’s a better way for them to connect with animals and it’s really meaningful,” said the zoo’s spokesperson, Tiffany Grunert.

Dozens of children and their families turned out for the event, and the zoo created special interactive exhibits.

The Denver Zoo has been hosting "Dream Night" since 2008, and they plan to do this every year on the first Friday of June.

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